Rockies, Cubs both bat their pitcher in 8th spot

Rockies, Cubs both bat their pitcher in 8th spot

DENVER -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss and Cubs manager Joe Maddon each batted their pitcher eighth for Colorado's home opener Friday. It marked the first time both pitchers started out of the No. 9 hole since July 13, 2008, when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put starter Joel Pineiro eighth and Pirates skipper John Russell did the same with Ian Snell, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Maddon, who hit lefty Travis Wood eighth, explained his philosophy:

"It's one of those things that's always been done a certain way, so people think your pitcher is supposed to hit ninth. The only time I think it could be a disadvantage is bases loaded, two outs, here comes the pitcher and then the nine-hole.

"The primary benefit I'm seeing so far is two things. A: you can hit for a guy sooner. And B: you get another leadoff hitter in the nine-hole, which benefits moving a more prolific hitter in the two-hole."

Weiss, with lefty Tyler Matzek making the start, said during Spring Training that it was something he'd do to get the offense going after some difficult games. The Rockies swept a three-game series against the Brewers, but the chance to get shortstop Troy Tulowitzki into the two-hole -- behind power-hitting leadoff man Corey Dickerson (two homers in Milwaukee) -- was intriguing.

"Against a left-handed starter, I wanted a dangerous bat in the two-hole, and I prefer it to be right-handed, so it's Tulo," Weiss said.

Matzek doubled for the Rockies with two outs in the second inning, scoring the game's first run on No. 9 hitter DJ LeMahieu's single. It marked the first time in Rockies history that the pitcher batted eighth in the starting lineup.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.